I first heard about Palace Beautiful when I met the author, Sarah DeFord Williams. It was one of those friend of a friend on the internet introductions. The things she wrote intrigued me and so when the chance came to meet her in person, I jumped at it. I discovered she was even better in person and had the good fortune to visit with her regularly. That is how I came to have an Advanced Reader Copy of Palace Beautiful. I read it and loved it. The book is not without flaws, but I can’t tell you what they are, because I don’t remember. Even while I was reading the book I was too engaged to analyze, which is kind of rare for me.
I handed the book over to Gleek, who is squarely in the middle of the intended audience. She read the book, loved it, built her own Palace Beautiful hiding place, and began to incorporate various aspects of the book into her life. Books really speak to Gleek. They give voice to her feelings and allow her to view herself in new ways. She saw herself in the characters of Palace Beautiful. Even more, she took things from the book and used them. She used the fanciful names for colors. She asked to be taught how to crochet granny squares. She even wrote her own origin fable to try to capture who she is and where she came from.
Because Gleek is young, these interests faded as life moved on. But just a few weeks ago, she read the book again. The book and the characters spoke to her again. She picked up the interests again. I am pleased about the timing of this re-read. The Palace Beautiful Launch Party takes place tomorrow at The King’s English bookstore in Salt Lake City. I’ll be taking Gleek to buy her very own hard cover copy of the book, and to introduce her to my friend Sarah. Sometimes a book or a person comes into our lives at exactly the right moment. Thus it was that Sarah Williams and Palace Beautiful came to Gleek, and I.